A newly created virtual tour for Hispanic Heritage Month, highlighting various aspects of Hispanic and Latinx culture and including interactive elements for participants to immerse themselves in an informative and entertaining virtual experience, is now online. In this truly immersive experience, guests can also meet virtually and have conversations in real-time.
Guests can access the virtual tours by visiting the Hispanic Heritage Month website. They can also stop by the Latinx center located in the Santos Manuel Student Union North third floor and Palm Desert Campus to enter the virtual tour with a VR headset. An accessible version of all the information that is included in the tour can also be found on the Hispanic Heritage Month VR tour website.
Guests have the option to enter the Santos Manuel Student Union (SMSU) North, The LatinX Cultural Center and Indian Wells Theater located at the Palm Desert Campus. Once they choose where they want to start, they can go to the next location by locating the doorways that link to the other rooms.
The first two floors of the SMSU North, the LatinX Cultural Center, and the Indian Wells theater have been decorated with a whimsical arrangement of popular Hispanic food items and flags representing each Hispanic country.
Each room is jam-packed with various exhibits that feature artists, history, art and more, such as Puerto Rican artist Don Rimx, Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiro, Frida Kahlo, Mayan temples, and clothing from the Quechua Serrano, and Cahuilla tribes. All three locations also have a performance video of Mexican American DJ Deorro that guests can stop by and enjoy.
In addition to celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, this experience is the perfect opportunity for those who haven’t visited these campus locations in person to virtually walk around and interact with one another the same way they would in person.
Visitors can also “travel” to locations such as Chicano Park by locating the spheres placed throughout the different rooms and stepping into 360-degree images of these historic and culturally significant locations.
The Hispanic Heritage Month virtual experience was created by the Extended Reality for Learning Lab Extended Reality for Learning (xREAL) Lab with Information Technology Services (ITS) at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) in collaboration with the Hispanic Heritage Month committee to provide all campus members an opportunity to participate in the celebrations for Hispanic Heritage Month.
The virtual tour was done through the VR platform Mozilla Hubs. Guests can experience the virtual tour on their phones, computers, or with a VR headset and learn about Hispanic art, culture, food, and history.
Meet the students behind the Hispanic Heritage Month Virtual Experience
The Hispanic Heritage Month virtual tour was created by the Extended Reality for Learning (xREAL) Lab with Information Technology Services (ITS) at CSUSB in collaboration with the Hispanic Heritage Month Committee to provide all campus members an opportunity to participate in the celebrations for Hispanic Heritage Month.
The three Latino students that were part of the xREAL team who brought their unique set of skills and ties to Latino culture to the Hispanic Heritage Month virtual exhibit are:
JC Mariscal, a student assistant currently pursuing a B.F.A. with a double concentration in 3D design and motion graphics with a minor in music technology. Using picture reference and Blender 3D he recreated a virtual Student Union, Indian Wells Theater, and LatinX Center.
“I enjoyed working on this project, doing what I am passionate about and also being able to showcase Hispanic Heritage and culture was a fun process,” Mariscal said.
Francisco Casillas, a 3D modeler and animator student assistant at xREAL. Francisco recently graduated from CSUSB with a B.A. in art-graphic design. He is responsible for modeling multiple assets within the exhibit including the flags, tables, stands, paintings and food that decorate the various rooms in the exhibit. He also modeled the clothing from the Quechua, Serrano, and Cahuilla tribes.
“I had no idea how much Hispanic culture borrows from one another, it's a melting pot of delicious foods and festivities,” said Casillas.
Esperanza Martinez, a strategic communication student assistant at xREAL and contributed to the project through research and promotion. Esperanza is currently pursuing a master of arts in communication studies.
“Although I am still in close proximity to my cultural roots, I always welcome the opportunity to learn more about my Mexican heritage,” Martinez said. “Researching content and learning more about all latino culture has been a rewarding experience. I’m glad to have been able to work on this project with the rest of the team and bring something truly unique to the celebration.”
Extended Reality for Learning (xREAL) Lab with Information Technology Services (ITS) at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) is an interdisciplinary technology innovation hub that brings together faculty, students, and staff to imagine and design immersive learning experiences with 3D modeling and printing, augmented reality, mixed reality, virtual reality, motion caption, and machine learning technologies. Each year, xREAL works with faculty fellows and undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines to provide a vision for future teaching and learning, mentorship and hands-on experience for the students, and sustainable innovation for the larger campus community. xREAL’s work is made possible thanks to generous support from CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales and Vice President for IT Samuel Sudhakar.